New England Patriots

  • Every offseason, Mike Sando of The Athletic asks 50 coaches and executives around the NFL to rank quarterbacks in a tier-based manner. Tier 1 being the best quarterbacks and tier 5 being the worst or simply unproven of all starting or potentially starting play callers.

    Some selections are not too surprising. Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers was selected as a unanimous tier-1 quarterback, and Mac Jones was the highest-ranked 2021 rookie. But there’s also some selections and opinions that are rather interesting.

    Here’s a few that stood out:

  • Mac Jones: Tier 3, 18th overall

    May 23, 2022; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) heads to the practice field for the team's OTA at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    May 23, 2022; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) heads to the practice field for the team’s OTA at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    For what Jones did in his rookie season with the New England Patriots, I think this is a very fair assessment. He’s right behind Kirk Cousins, Jimmy Garoppolo and Ryan Tannehill and right in front of Baker Mayfield, Jalen Hurts and Carson Wentz.

    Passing for 3,800 yards, 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions isn’t bad, but also isn’t great. Jones also didn’t have much around him, with Hunter Henry, Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne being his top targets last season. A big concern for evaluators in the article was the help around Jones, and that Bill Belichick doesn’t have the time to properly develop Jones himself.

    “We have been told his quarterback coach is Joe Judge, and I can’t name the last time he’s developed any quarterbacks,” a coach said in Sando’s article. 

    With all this being said, he was taken after four other quarterbacks in the 2021 draft, all of whom he ranked higher than on this list, with Trevor Lawrence being the closest at number 23. And at 23 years old, Jones has room to make his way into tier 2 and if everything falls right then even tier 1.

  • Matthew Stafford ranks above Russell Wilson

    INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 13: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams celebrates after Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium on February 13, 2022 in Inglewood, California. The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20.

    INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 13: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams celebrates after Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium on February 13, 2022 in Inglewood, California. The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20.

    Voters pegged both Matthew Stafford and Russell Wilson in tier 2, with Stafford one spot ahead of Wilson at No. 7. Some may disagree with this, like the evaluators obviously did, but Wilson is the better quarterback.

    If Wilson is in Stafford’s position last year with Sean McVay, Cooper Kupp and a really good football team, I think the Los Angeles Rams get the same result if not a better one, if that’s even possible. This past season was the best of Stafford’s career, and there’s no doubt as to why that is. There aren’t many better offensive systems – if any at all – than what McVay and the Rams have in place.

    Wilson didn’t play great last season, but it falls more on the declining Seahawks offense rather than strictly Wilson. Look at Tom Brady’s last few years in New England compared to his first two with Tampa Bay. He had at least 40-plus passing touchdowns and 4,600 yards in both seasons with the Bucs. He hadn’t passed for at least 40 touchdowns since 2007 with the Patriots, and didn’t throw for more than 4,600 yards in his last four seasons in Foxboro.

    The Denver Broncos don’t have the Buccaneers or Rams offense in place, but it’s surely an upgrade over what Wilson had in Seattle with an improved offensive line, two good running backs, and even though there’s no D.K. Metcalf, a deep receiving core.

    Wilson behind Stafford was probably the second-most questionable call on this list.

  • Dak Prescott ranked behind Lamar Jackson

    MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 11: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens reacts on the sidelines against the Miami Dolphins during the third quarter in the game at Hard Rock Stadium on November 11, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

    MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 11: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens reacts on the sidelines against the Miami Dolphins during the third quarter in the game at Hard Rock Stadium on November 11, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

    This is undoubtedly the most questionable call from the voters on this list.

    Dak Prescott was ranked number 11 while Lamar Jackson was 10, both quarterbacks are in tier two. This even comes from someone who is a fan of Jackson as a franchise quarterback in the NFL, but to place him over Prescott feels a little wacky.

    If [Jackson] has to pass to win the game, they ain’t winning the game,” a defensive coordinator said in Sando’s article. 

    No quarterback in the NFL has the same gift as Jackson does as a rusher, but in 12 games last season he had 2,882 passing yards and threw for 16 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Prescott passed for 4,449 yards, 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season after coming back from a gruesome leg injury and dealing with a calf strain in the middle of the season.

    There’s no debating Jackson has more talent and athleticism. But Prescott, who isn’t perfect by any means, is clearly the better passer. Not to mention that even though both quarterbacks are 1-3 in the postseason, Prescott has nine touchdowns and five turnovers compared to Jackson’s four touchdowns to five turnovers. Jackson is an awesome quarterback, just not better than Prescott.